TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You wake up each day, go to work and come home – unless the unthinkable happens.
8 On Your Side Investigates has pored over the latest numbers to identify the 8 deadliest jobs here in Florida. We’ve discovered it’s not just dangerous work you have to worry about. Sometimes, even the simplest jobs could cost you your life.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 332 people died on the job in Florida in 2018. That number doesn’t include all the men and women who are severely injured while at work.
8 On Your Side spoke with a Florida family whose life will never be the same.
“I didn’t know what kind of accident,” said Trista Alley. “I just knew that he was flying.”
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Alley’s husband Cameron spent months on the island helping to restore the power.
The young mother’s phone ran on Jan. 11, 2018. A coworker from Mr. Alley’s company was calling with horrific news.
“I need you to get on a plane right now,” said Mrs. Alley. “I said just tell me is he okay? And she said, ‘I don’t know.'”
There would be no update for 15 excruciating hours.
“The worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” Cameron Alley described.
Video shows the Polk County father laying on the mountainside. Alley said he waited several hours for help after falling nearly 100 feet from a helicopter.
“We were actually working on our very last tower of the day,” said Alley.
Alley, who spent nearly two decades as a lineman, loved his work.
“It was my passion,” he said.
In the Tampa Bay area, we’ve seen our share of tragedy.
In 2017, five workers were critically burned and killed at the Big Bend power plant in Apollo Beach.
8 On Your Side has identified the deadliest occupations across Florida.
Here’s the 2018 list of the 8 deadliest occupations in Florida:
- Construction and extraction occupations: 84 killed
- Transportation and material moving occupations: 76 killed
- Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations: 40 killed
- Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations: 38 killed
- Protective service occupations: 17 killed
- Sales and related occupations: 14 killed
- Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations: 12 killed
- Production occupations: 10 killed
So what happens if you’re hurt or killed at work in Florida?
“If you’re seriously injured on the job, your only recourse is through worker’s compensation benefits,” Steven Capriati, an attorney with Morgan & Morgan, said. “I think the worker’s compensation laws in Florida are fundamentally unfair.”
Capriati says in almost every case, Florida employers who offer worker’s compensation benefits are immune from civil lawsuits. The exceptions include if the employer’s actions were virtually certain or intended to endanger a worker.
“There needs to be greater protection for these employees and their families,” said Capriati.
In the meantime, the Alley family said they were more prepared than most.
“When you have a family member who does a dangerous job…as much as you don’t want to, plan for the unexpected,” said Mrs. Alley.
Right now, Cameron Alley is pursuing a career in ministry. The father says he wants to help others heal from trauma.
“I thank God every single day that I have my life,” said Alley.
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